US-based NuScale Power said that it is advancing the manufacturing process development work at BWXT Canada Ltd’s facility in Cambridge, Ontario in preparation for the fabrication of the NuScale Power Module™ (NPM).
The manufacturing process is critical to developing NuScale’s small modular reactor (SMR) technology and represents an example of how NuScale is building out its Canadian supply chain.
NuScale engaged BWXT Canada in 2019 on an 18-month design for manufacturing contract for its upper reactor pressure vessel and steam generator, with the intent to award the manufacturing contract to BWXT Canada for Canadian projects. NuScale also anticipates more contracts with BWXT Canada for manufacturing services related to the upper reactor pressure vessel to commence in 2022 with the goal of supporting a Canadian deployment in 2028.
“We have made incredible progress this past year toward commercialising NuScale’s small modular reactor, including moving forward with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission Vendor Design Review process and receiving the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s first-ever approval of a small modular reactor design last summer,” said NuScale Power Chairman and CEO John Hopkins. “The manufacturing process development work with BWXT Canada represents another powerful step forward as we continue to develop our supply chain.”
The ongoing manufacturing process development involves development and qualification of a specialised welding process to meet the manufacturing requirements of the NuScale vessels. This will help confirm the manufacturability of the NPM design, reducing the risk of first-of-a-kind manufacturing for NuScale’s current and future customers, and lead to opportunity for Canadian exports to NuScale plants globally.
NuScale’s design maturity has allowed BWXT Canada to develop a comprehensive manufacturing plan for the upper reactor pressure vessel, along with manufacturing optimisation reports, a detailed cost estimate based on the manufacturing plan, and a detailed manufacturing schedule, representing a benefit in cost and schedule certainty for potential buyers.
The contract initiated in 2019 is a critical step toward commercialising the NPM and is one example of the supply chain development opportunities for Canadian companies who have the power plant equipment expertise required by NuScale. NuScale estimates that 80% of the content for the NuScale power plant could be sourced by the existing Canadian supply chain capabilities. This includes opportunities stemming from BWXT Canada as it plans to engage sub-tier suppliers related to the reactor pressure vessels such as forging, precision manufacturing and material supply, steam generator tube bending and specialty services.
Another example of the potential opportunities in Canada is NuScale’s longstanding partnership with Fluor as both investor and engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) service provider for NuScale’s NPM technology. Fluor has more than 70 years of global experience in the nuclear industry, and has performed engineering, procurement and construction services for energy and other projects in Canada for more than 75 years. Fluor has been working closely with NuScale for over eight years, reviewing the design for constructability and supporting construction related activities, including Canadian supply chain availability.